Ray Rice's removal from the official Madden NFL 15 roster — the one online ranked play uses — was not a surprise. Suspended and injured players, notorious and otherwise, are taken out all the time. But the Ravens running back at the center of a furious controversy over how the league responds to domestic violence incidents has been KGB'd from Madden Ultimate Team, too.
I know, because I own his player card. (Ultimate Team is a fantasy football type game where you collect "cards" to form the best rated team possible, then play that online against others or against the CPU.) Midway through this week his card image was blanked and Rice's name was changed to the NCAA Football-esque "Baltimore Halfback. #25" Rice's uniform numeral was No. 27.
Rice has been suspended indefinitely from the league for knocking out his then fiancée in a casino elevator back in March. Two weeks ago, security camera footage showing the brutality of the attack led to withering criticism of the NFL and the initial two game suspension it handed Rice. He was also released by his team.
The problems don't end there. Minnesota all-pro running back Adrian Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals halfback Jonathan Dwyer both were ordered away from their teams this past week for domestic violence arrests, after the latest roster change came to Madden. As it effectively bars both players from competition indefinitely, one assumes Ultimate Team will give them the same treatment it gave Rice. That's remarkable in the case of Peterson, an extremely valuable, 90-rated running back.
Here's what Dwyer is currently going for in Ultimate Team's auction house.
Here's Peterson; both players seem to be pulling bids in line with their ratings. It doesn't appear morbid curiosity is driving up their auction value. (The smaller figure is the price at which the auction can be bought out and ended; sometimes users set that to a huge number so the auction ends with the highest bid.)
Why keep anyone in the game under a ringer name? In Ultimate Team, these cards often form smaller collections that, when completed, give the player some kind of a bonus item. Removing Rice from the population and replacing him probably is more trouble than it's worth over just renaming him. Secondly, in some cases people have spent real money on card packs where he was acquired, or virtual currency to get him in the auction house. They're kind of owed the full value of the item they acquired.
"Baltimore Halfback #25" can be traded or auctioned, or have contracts spent to extend his tenure with your team, the same as a regular player. Here's what he's going for in the auction house right now.